Best of 2017: Off-highway producers optimistic for growth

Best of 2017: Off-highway producers optimistic for growth

A new administration in Washington and positive reactions from ConExpo-Con/Agg visitors have manufacturers hopeful.

December 29, 2017
Kristin Smith
Commercial vehicles Economy

Off-highway equipment manufacturing supported about 1.3 million jobs and contributed more than $159 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the U.S. in 2016, according to a report from IHS Markit prepared for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Presented in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the ConExpo-Con/Agg trade show, the report highlights the importance of an industry that members say is due for a rebound.

IHS estimates that off-highway equipment manufacturing was involved in $412.2 billion in U.S. sales activity in 2016. Report authors note, “This occurred through approximately $266.5 billion in direct industry sales activity, such as the sale of equipment like skid steers and combines, which generated additional economic activity as dollars flowed through the equipment manufacturing supply chain.”

Jobs supported by off-highway equipment and ancillary products represent nearly 1% of the total employment base in the U.S. When added with those supported in the industry supply chain, the number makes up 7% of U.S. manufacturing employment. Of the 424,000 U.S. employees directly involved with firms engaged in the production of off-highway equipment, IHS found 163,000 were tied to the construction equipment industry, 114,000 jobs were tied to the agricultural equipment industry, and 148,000 jobs were tied to the mining equipment industry. Sales activity in off-road equipment makes up 5.1% of total manufacturing output in the U.S.

“This report helps to put into context the many great contributions of our industry,” says AEM President Dennis Slater. “Our industry is a core part of America’s manufacturing economy, and we are eager to continue to grow, and, hopefully with a significant investment in our infrastructure, help put millions of Americans to work.”

Much of the optimism for the near future comes from promises by President Donald Trump to increase infrastructure spending, a development that would lead to sales of construction equipment.

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From the April 2017 issue of Today's Motor Vehicles.